Crime overall was down in Durham in the first two months of 2009, compared with the same period a year before.
Violent crime — murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — was down 36 percent, Police Chief Jose Lopez reported to the City Council work session Thursday. Property crime was down 1 percent despite a 9 percent increase in burglaries: from 443 in 2008 to 483 this year.
The drop in violent crime was led by a decrease in murder — from three to one — and robbery — from 181 to 99. A spate of robberies in early 2008 had kept the city’s crime rate up, compared with 2007, even as violent crime in other forms went down.
“We have worked hard to identify suspects in multiple robberies,” Lopez said. “We believe this has helped reduce our violent crime rate."
Lopez also pointed out that officers interrupted two armed home invasions in January, and two arrests led to a “significant” drop in car break-ins in the Brightleaf Square area.
'”That's certainly the type of trend we're looking for,” said Mayor Bill Bell. “Whatever you're doing, keep it up."